I truly believe that you always end up coming back home, particularly when you have a family that has strengthened you and loved you like Blanca has. Pray Tell and Blanca coming back to each other was needed because they both provided reciprocal love for one another, and I was happy that Blanca did not have to experience her health concerns alone. With all the people she has been there for she deserves to have the people she cares about by her side. Although Blanca did not win Mother of the Year, as Elektra stated she deserved it because she pushed all of her kids to exist outside the ballroom scene letting them know that the balls are not the end all be all of your potential. Seeing Papi, Damon and Angel do so many great things, breaking down barriers all while being authentic to who they are is such an empowering message. Understanding that yes you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, but that does not define where you go and how successful you can be; instead it is an added bonus that speaks to your individuality and strength. I think it is crucial to see stories of success and triumph instead of failure and trauma, that are so often portrayed of folks in the LGBTQ+ community. To see Blanca get the appreciation that she deserved had me all up in my feels, but so did most of the episode because they are truly a family. A family that has each others’ back, gets angry and constantly shows up for each other when it really matters.
Embracing femininity creates space for ridicule, misogyny and exploitation. This episode sheds light on the impact that femininity has on masculine of center folks as well as femme centered folks both creating challenges embedded in societal pressures to be monolithic, docile and “real”. Elektra is always with the shits and willing to call out whoever needs it, and rightfully so. The policing of womxns’ bodies and actions by men—and at times other womxn— show the deeply understood structures that create a standard of what and who is deemed masculine and feminine. Coming to the ball each week to be judged on if you are “real” enough does nothing great to one’s self-esteem, particularly living in a world that is constantly clocking you, and demoralizing and weaponizing your identity. It has and still is interesting to me to see that the queer community in many ways aligns itself with heteronormativity which forces folks to ascribe to be feminine or masculine based on their gender expression. We see this with Pray Tell as he works to unpack his childhood trauma. And let’s be real, this is where most of our issues stem from and how we come to understand the world around us on what is acceptable and what is not. Any-who, we see him working through the ways in which his father tried to make him be a man because men are not allowed to be soft or be feminine according to many cis folks, and honestly some queer folks too. Queer people are not immune to heteronormative thinking, despite the fact that so many people believe that because they are queer they are, therefore, not problematic. We all have unlearning to do because if you grew up in the United States you’ve received messages from institutions, family and media about who you should be and you likely accepted them out of survival or ignorance. Turning the tables and putting yourself into someone else’s shoes as Pray Tell and the rest of the committee did, allows for empathy and self-reflection of the privileges you may have.
Though this episode had my Cancer moon shining through, I was elated to see everything work out for everyone. I wonder if Blanca will raise a new set of kids and how the next season will look. Will they finally give us the backstory of Elektra? Will they ever find that body Elektra’s been hiding? Will Pray Tell and Ricky remain a thing? What is next for ballroom? I do not have the answers to all of these questions, but I’m excited to find out next year! POSE is a phenomenal piece of work that represents folks who are not typically seen in the media, and I am happy to support and watch its growth. Until next time, “Live, Work, POSE!”
Cover photo: FX